Bernard Frechtman: Timely Topics: Connecticut Online Privacy Law Protects Prospective and Current Employees
A. Bernard Frechtman, Esq., C.P.C. - July 24, 2017
Note: This article is not intended as legal advice. In all instances the reader is cautioned to consult with legal counsel when utilizing this information. ABF*
Connecticut Online Privacy Law Protects Prospective and Current Employees
Effective October 1, 2015 Connecticut has enacted a law to protect prospective and current employees from employer interference with their “personal online accounts.” The new law defines personal online accounts to include any online account used by a prospective or current employee exclusively for personal purposes (including through electronic mail, social media or retail-based Internet websites). The term does not encompass any account created, maintained, used or accessed by a prospective or current employee for business purposes of the employer.
The new law prohibits employers from requesting or requiring a prospective or current employee to divulge a username, password, or other authentication information used to access a personal online account, or to authenticate or access a personal online account in the presence of the employer. None of this applies to a computer used in whole or part for the employer.
Complaints can be filed with the labor commissioner who may levy fines up to $1,000 as well as ordering rehiring, back pay, employee benefits and such other relief as “deemed appropriate.”
Twenty other states have similar laws including Arkansas, California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.
Should A Company Ever Require A “Love Contract?”
According to the Society of Resource Management, as many as 40% of workers have had an office relationship at some point in their careers. Even though employees might view office romances as harmless, they can often lead to a host of legal issues for an employer. In order to keep the office from turning into a war zone companies should consider implementing an official “love contract” policy.
The term “love contract” refers to a written agreement between two employees that have mutually and voluntarily entered into a romantic relationship. These agreements usually state that both employees fully understand their employer’s policies regarding harassment in the workplace, and reaffirm that the relationship is fully consensual and free of coercion or undue influence.
Most “love contracts” also require the employees to file a report with the employer if their relationship ends, becomes negative, or is no longer consensual. Such agreements can come in handy in the event the relationship sours and one (or both) of the employees complains of harassment. While not perfect, love contracts can reduce the risk of complaints and litigation.
“I have two opinions. My doctor says it’s not serious, my lawyer said it is”